Sunday, April 27, 2014

Delicious!: A Novel

Title:  Delicious!: A Novel
Author:  Ruth Reichl
Publication Information:  Random House. 2014. 400 pages.
ISBN:  1400069629 / 978-1400069620

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "History is the story we tell the future about the past, and we have an obligation to get it right."

Delicious! is the first fiction attempt by longtime food writer Ruth Reichl.

Wilhelmina, aka Billie, has moved to New York City to take a job with the iconic Delicious! magazine. The magazine is housed in a beautiful old Federalist mansion in New York. It is populated with a host of fun characters - the gruff editor whose dog loves smoothies, an older travel reporter who takes on the role of mentoring Billie, and mean Maggie. Surrounding them in the food scene of New York city are other symbolic characters - Thursday, the young chef making her mark on the city, and Sal, the cheese maker, who believes in upholding the long standing traditions of how he and his family have done business for years and years.

Billie is discovered to have an impeccable palate. She can obviously cook, but refuses to because of something in her past - something having to do with her sister. She also discovers her talent for food writing. Other than the secret of her past and the shadow of her sister, things have a way of working out for Billie. People around her see her beauty and potential even if she does not.

Then, change comes. The publication company decides to close the magazine. Everyone loses their job except for Billie, who is kept to maintain the magazine guarantee. Working alone in the mansion, she discovers the library and a virtual treasure trove of history. She discovers Lulu - a young girl who carried on a correspondence with James Beard during World War II. The hunt for Lulu's letters and the letters themselves become the new adventure for Billie and her friends. In pursuing that adventures, Billie learns some lessons about her own life and makes decisions to finally let go of the memories of her past and her sister that have been holding her back.

This is a feel good book. It is a light read. This is definitely a foodie's book. The food descriptions and history are expected, given the author, and very appetizing. I also learned a lot about food and the home front during World War II. The characters are relatively undeveloped but entertaining nevertheless. Perhaps, the most interesting character of all is Lulu, for the reader learns about who she is through her letters. To see her live through the war and to hear it in her own words gives the story its depth.

So, if you are a foodie looking for a light, entertaining, feel good read, this is the book for you. A delicious beach read for the upcoming summer season.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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